Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library: Here’s The Incredible Number of Books The Country Icon Has Given Away

by Taylor Cunningham

Last month, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library reached a major milestone. Since starting in the 1990s, it had officially mailed 184,615,046 total books to children around the world.

The foundation began in Sevier County, TN, where the County music star was born and raised, in 1995. And as of June, it had grown to send over 2 million age-appropriate books to children in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, and the Republic of Ireland. That means that one book is hitting a mailbox every 1.4 seconds, according to a post by the foundations.

“Sending many thanks to nearly 3,000 local community partners across 5 countries who have helped us reach this amazing milestone!” it wrote.

The non-profit aims to fight illiteracy by helping kids gain a passion for reading from birth. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library will send one book a month to children from birth until their 5th birthday. As long as the child lives in a participating country, their parents can sign up no matter their economic status.

“When I was growing up in the hills of East Tennessee, I knew my dreams would come true,” Dolly wrote on the charity’s website. “I know there are children in your community with their own dreams. They dream of becoming a doctor or an inventor or a minister. Who knows, maybe there is a little girl whose dream is to be a writer and singer.

“The seeds of these dreams are often found in books,” she added. “And the seeds you help plant in your community can grow across the world.”

Dolly Parton Said Her Father Inspired the Idea Behind The Imagination Library

In an episode of her Vimeo Front Porch Series, Dolly Parton shared that she came up with the idea while sitting at her dinner table one night. And it was her father who inspired her.

As she said, her dad couldn’t read or write when she was a child. And because of that, the idea of helping children avoid that struggle was one she was passionate about. So he asked her dad to join her in starting the foundation to help their friends and neighbors.

But, of course, the Imagination Library spread far and wide. And Dolly is determined to see it move into more countries in the future. However, she believes that she shouldn’t be getting praise for all the hard work.

‘I get a lot of credit for a lot of stuff I don’t even do. I’m happy to be the spokesperson for so much of it,” she said. “But without all the people involved in it, the programs wouldn’t be as successful as they have been.”

Dolly Parton also asks everyone who is able to donate to please help keep her efforts alive. If you’re interested in donating, visit her website for more information.